Two heavyweights in the Utah Grizzlies and Idaho Steelheads squared off for already the fourth time in the young season and as expected, it was a hard fought, back to back contest and after 60 minutes of play, the outcome was still in doubt. Although there is quite nothing like overtime three on three ECHL hockey, unfortunately the home team came up a bit short as Idaho forward Brad McClure buried a chance and ultimately knocked out the Grizzlies, 3-2. The good news is that Utah still acquired a standings point and haven’t lost in regulation lest this season.
“We’re a good team and they’re a good team too and it’s tough when you face a team four times in a row,” head coach Tim Branham said. “We still have a zero in the loss column and have points in all six games so we like where we’re at.”
Utah forward Caleb Herbert has an unbelievable tendency to be in the right place at just the right time. Coming into Saturday night’s contest against the Idaho Steelheads and already leading the team with six goals, Herbert would make it seven to level the contest at 2-2 in the third period.
“Caleb is a special player and he has proven success and good linemates to accompany him,” Branham said. In fact, Herbert has scored a goal in six straight contests and is quickly emerging as an early season MVP candidate in the ECHL.
The Grizzlies possess a deadly weapon and it manifests itself when Utah is the beneficiary of the power play. Coming into the contest, Utah featured the highest percentage of successful attempts with a man advantage at a blistering 9 for 25. Tim McGauley would make it 10 on the year when the forward received a crisp cross ice pass from recent new addition Travis Barron for Utah’s first goal of the evening.
Following a clean first period in which neither team incurred a penalty, the second session was barely underway when Utah forward Cole Ully, Friday night’s first star of the game, was penalized for cross checking. It would come back to bite the Grizzlies as Idaho broke a scoreless tie when Joe Pendenza found the back of the net for a 1-0 Steelheads lead.